Former UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba says it was Mazabuka member of parliament Gary Nkombo who acted as president when Hakainde Hichilema was detained at Mukobeko Maximum Prison.
And Mwamba says NDC leader Chishimba Kambwili and DP’s Harry Kalaba are just going to be used by Hichilema to advance his Presidential aspirations and dump them later.
Speaking when he featured on Kasama radio in Kasama, GBM claimed that Monze central member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu advised him to leave the country when Hichilema was arrested only to be shocked upon arrival that it was Nkombo who was acting as party president.
“When HH was arrested and detained over the Mongu incidence, I was called by Jack Mwiimbu and other members of the party who told me to leave the country. They said that there would be a leadership crisis in the party if I was also arrested. I went to South Africa, we started pushing for HH’s release, we were writing letters in my house in South Africa. When I came back, I found that HH had been taken to Mukobeko, I used to go there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday,” Mwamba narrated.
“But what was surprising is that UPND officials were having meetings behind my back, Gary Nkombo was the one chairing those meetings, he is the one who was acting as president, they sidelined me as vice-president. They said if HH was going to die in jail, GBM should not be allowed to be president of the party because he is a Bemba, they said UPND is not for Bembas, it was MPs saying that, Gary and Jack Mwiimbu. I want the nation to know this. And you noticed that I never acted as president even when HH was out of the country, and in fact he never even used to tell me that he was going out, I only used to see that in the media.”
And Mwamba warned Kambwili and Kalaba that they would just be used by Hichilema and dumped later once the UPND leader got what he wanted.
“HH is not alone in that party, he is being controlled and being told that this party is not for non-Tongas. This happened to Sakwiba Sikota, he was told also that this party is not for non- Tongas. That’s why I discovered that these people just want to use people and dump them when they get what they want. I want to tell people like Kambwili and Kalaba who want to work with HH, that they will just be used and be dumped after that. If he dumped me after all the financial help I rendered to the party, what about them? I put myself on the chopping board, when people didn’t like UPND I associated with them,” Mwamba said.
“Look at people like Illunga, how are they going to survive working with HH the way Illunga likes asking for money? HH does not like people who ask for money from him, he will soon dump Illunga because for him, he asks even money for fuel. HH is very clever, he is not speaking out on my issue, he is using my fellow Bembas like my nephew [Patrick] Mucheleka, [Mutale] Nalumango, Illunga and this Levy Ngoma from Sinda in Eastern Province to insult me; these people have got no wisdom, they have forgotten that ‘umuto walupwa tawitika’ (families do not break despite differences).”
Mwamba said he felt sidelined when Hichilema started promising Kambwili and Kalaba the position of running mate.
“HH made it clear to me when he came to my house that there cannot be UPND without him, he said this to show me that even if he left, I cannot be party president; this could be the reason why he makes decisions alone. To make matters worse, he called Chishimba Kambwili, he called Bwalya Chiti and Harry Kalaba behind my back and started promising them that he will make one of them as running mates. And then came the issue of the alliance partners, he was speaking to them behind my back, he only called me for the launch. They went ahead and chose Sylvia Masebo as secretary general for the alliance partners, they sidelined me and that’s how problems started. The only time they called me was to go to press briefings was to parade me in front of the camera so that you the people should think that I am being relevant,” Mwamba said.
“They chose Gary Nkombo as chairman for elections, chairman for elections is supposed to report to the vice-president, but Gary was bypassing me, he was reporting to HH directly. But when there was a budget for elections, they started to remember me and that’s how I started to slow down. And when I saw that they started being closer to Kambwili, I realised that things were not going on well.”
He said a lot of people were happy that he ditched UPND.
“People are very happy that I have gone back to PF, I have just noticed that people were not happy with my decision of leaving PF, even people from Southern Province are happy that I have gone back to PF. HH thrives on divide and rule, even some of his MPs don’t like him because he does not know how to work with them. When he calls an MP to his house, just know that there is something that MP has said in parliament, for him it’s always about intimidation. HH is to insecure, he is even scared of his own shadow. UPND should find a different person to lead the party; people like Garry Nkombo, Jack Mwiimbu or the likes of Kasonso, that’s when the party will go forward. But if he continues, the party will remain in the opposition, 21 years in opposition, even people will be fatigued,” said Mwamba.